Desert Horses

Welcome to my horse blog, Desert Horses. We live in the desert southwest, near Palm Springs, CA, but board our horses up in our local mountains where it is cooler in the summer. I have 4 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ms. Scout did very well with her exercises this weekend.  She flexed.  She yielded.  She backed up.  She led very well in the corral.  I didn't take her out, but exercised her in the big corral.  She lifted all 4 feet!  SUPER! She really is a big love bug!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Working with horses Sunday

I awoke at 5:30 this morning (Sunday), feeling refreshed and ready to drive up the hill.  I didn't feel good Saturday...dizzy, tired, just all around blah.  I decided to stay home, rest, and take a couple of naps.  So, Sunday morning, I was ready to work the horses.  I got up at the ranch about 9:00 and took Sunni out first.  I brushed him, cleaned his feet, and took him down to the arena and did his exercises.  He did really well with his exercises, but at the tie rack, he spooked when I took out another brush to groom him with...go figure  He pulled back on the rope (fortunately it held), but was very nervous.  I yelled, "STOP" at him and he settled down...he wouldn't have done that a year ago.  He would have just broken the rope and bolted.  So, I'm glad that he is learning to THINK instead of just REACT.  But, he did all his exercises with no problem, so I let him loose in the arena.  He self-exercised and ran up and down next to the railing.  Then, a he did a couple of good rolls and settled down to eat grass. Quad was waiting patiently by his gate, so I took him out next and groomed him.  He didn't move a muscle.  I took him up to the round pen and let him loose to eat grass up there.  (There's a lot of grass from all the rain they've had up in the mountains.)...Next, I worked Scout.  She did very well and listened and paid attention.  I was able to clean all 4 of her feet.  She was very cooperative today and I practiced leading her around the corral, pointing to where I wanted to go and she followed nicely (THANK GOODNESS!)...Cali was next.  There was a Santa Ana wind today and she was a little restless and didn't concentrate.  Getting her to flex was a hard task, but she did a little.  She kicked me, however, when I was lifting up her back leg to clean her hoof, so I did it over and over until she relaxed (no bruising, thankfully!)  I spent 5 hours (plus driving time) up there today and it was so beautiful I didn't want to go home, but hubby and I had errands to do, so I put everybody back in their corrals and off I went.  To my concern, I discovered that I had a large screw in my rear tire, so it was off to Goodyear to have it repaired as soon as I got home.  Photos of Sunni in the arena.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Santa Ana winds and a new laptop!

Well, actually it's hubby's old one (barely 3 years old) and it's a LOT faster than this one.  Unfortunately, the dogs stepped on its power chord, so, for this morning, I'm back on the old clunker (this one!)...Yesterday hubby cleaned off this computer's desktop, stored all my photos on the external hard drive, and we'll be giving this laptop to our son.  I'll be using another SONY (we love SONY laptops!), and it has...gasp...PHOTOSHOP already on it!  So, I'll be experimenting with Photoshop!  And, since it doesn't have Google Picassa and since Picassa is shutting down anyway, I'll be forced to learn Photoshop.  PERIOD.  On another note, we have high Santa Ana winds forecast for today (no clouds...), so it should be another interesting ride up the mountain to go visit and work with the horses!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fence in the fog~Friday Fences~January 27, 2012

Dead tree and fence in the fog last weekend up by the horse ranch.  The weather up there is VERY different from down in the desert and I'm always intrigued by the differences between the two environments. We don't often get fog in the desert, but it is fairly frequent up in our local mountains.  SkyWatch Friday for January 27, 2012.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Louisiana horses

I know you have read about the horses in Louisiana and their situation.  It's just so awful...I looked up their pedigrees and there are some nice mares still alive that need new homes.

Here's the link to the Louisiana Horse Rescue Association, if you could make a donation.  I mailed  out my check yesterday.  These mares need HELP!

and here's their facebook page:!/LHRA1

Thank you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunni's tale and tail

So, I braved the wind gusts on Saturday to get up to the horse ranch where the herd is boarded.  It was drizzling and the wind was blowing sideways! Quad and Sunni and Gigondas were out of feed, so I went to the feed store and bought 4 bags of pellets~bermuda, orchard, and sweet feed.  Before I left to go to the feed store, the ranch owner came up to me and told me that SOMEBODY had chewed off Sunni's long, gorgeous tail!  Sunni had a beautiful, long, full tail, which I trimmed about every other visit!  It was full and hung long and flowing.  Er..uh..not anymore!  (see pics of his tail now)...To see the photos of the perpetrator, please look at the bottom photos!  GUESS WHO???  (...smacking head on forehead)...well, at least he isn't cribbing on his water trough or feeder!

Birds~Sunday Stills Challenge~012212

I wasn't going to do this week's challenge at first, but then I remembered that last week we took the grandson to the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert and I took him through one of the aviaries there.  There was a white egret there and he liked the white bird.  There are a lot of these egrets here in the desert.  I see them at the resorts and golf courses.  I even see them down by my school, out in the fields.  Sunday stills Challenge for January 22, 2012.

storm update~Sunday

Our local paper is reporting that the Humana golf tournament was cancelled yesterday due to the high winds.  Several cars were involved in a traffic accident out on Interstate 10 and an apartment building in Palm Springs lost power after a tree fell on it.  In Palm Desert, tree limbs litter the streets.  We were LUCKY that our cottonwood and 2 large eucalyptus trees held up.  At one point, I did think we were going to lose our huge mesquite tree which covers our front porch, but it remains standing.  It's still dark yet and I may go out later with my camera for a drive.  The winds were clocked at 66 miles per hour at the Palm Springs airport!  YIKES!  Here are a couple of scenes from yesterday, up on Highway 74, which I drive to get to my horses.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Oh, my goodness!  The wind today is something ELSE~  I had to drive up the mountain to buy pellets for the horses and on the way, I wasn't even sure if I'd make it all the way.  It was that windy!  I figured I would just drive as far as I could and just see...I did make it, but it was misting heavily up there and and windy and the mist was coming down sideways!  I bought pellets for the herd, unloaded 4 bags, gave them some, and came home.  Along the way back down the hill, the wind gusts nearly knocked me off the road a couple of times!  I drove very slowly and pulled off onto each turnout, just to slow down!  Believe me, NOBODY was speeding down that mountain today!  I stopped to take this photo of the clouds moving along the mountains.  It's good to be home, but we just had a gust of wind that nearly took the roof off our house!  I was afraid that we'd lose some trees in the front yard, but so far, they're still with us!  UPDATE:  Hubby reported that several trees fell on cars over at the hotel and the streets of Palm Desert are littered with trees and tree branches! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fence and field~Friday Fences~012012

I was driving around last weekend up in the mountains where I board the herd and came upon this field and fence.  The fence wasn't much to look at, but there were crows out in the field.  They seem to like this corner and I frequently see them there.  Friday Fences for January 20, 2012.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:


Well, I've done pretty well so far this year, but now I'm sick...sore throat, congestion.  You know.  The "creeping crud"...DARN!  Two teachers have pneumonia and the kiddos at school have some kind of stomach virus.  Oh joy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This is from the mouth of our nearly-three year old grandson yesterday afternoon...."Lana go 'AAAAHHHHH!" and he raised his hands in the our son asked her what happened at the day care yesteday afternoon.  Turns out, she had taken all the kidlets out for a walk and a big dog came by and scared them...not sure if it was a pit bull or what.  After talking to the husband, they said it was a Great Dane.  Anyway, one little one got so scared he peed in his pants.  Ben, our grandson, just watched.  Remember, his family had the Weimeraner, which we now have, so he's used to big dogs.  Ahhh....from the mouths of babes!  Here are some pics from Monday's trip to the Living Desert to see the trains.  Ben is fascinated by them and I didn't get any photos of his face...he was so busy looking at them!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What am I learning?

Lisa, of Laughing Orca Ranch, asked me to post what I've learned so far from my horsemanship lessons.  Well, first of all, I've gained confidence.  I was so shaken after my fall that I didn't do much with ANY of my horses for over a year.  I just couldn't.  I limped around and could barely move my feet. My legs were constantly cramping and my balance was way off.  I went up and fed them and talked to them, but I really didn't interact with any of them, except Sunni.  He's always been my love!  For another year, I also didn't do much.  I really was in limbo.  I wasn't sure if my legs would recover and I was afraid to have another accident.  I did have my cousin come up and work with Sunni  about 4x, until he crow-hopped while she was on the phone.  That was the end of that.  So, getting my own confidence back was a big step for me personally.  Fortunately, the lesson horse down in Indio is so well trained that he's a breeze to work with!  I've learned how to get him to drop his head, how to properly lead (not let the horses get ahead of me!), how to flex, how to yield the front and hindquarters, and now I can pick up all of Sunni's and Gigo's feet!  (I used to only be able to do the front ones...).  My trainer also showed me how she rides a horse bareback and gives cues with her legs.  I'm not ready for that, yet, but if I continue to watch her, I'll be able to ride someday.  Oh, and she told me, "If you are on a horse and you look at the ground, THAT's where you'll end up!"   Hmmm...something for me to think about!  She also demonstrated how to get her horse to go where she wants just by looking beyond that point.  You know, I really haven't had lessons for several years (I did ride my cousin's horses a couple of times), but otherwise, I haven't had any lessons since I was in high school!  That's MANY, MANY years ago!  So, basically, for me, I'm learning all this from the beginning.  So, Lisa, I guess the most important thing I've learned so far is to be more confident with my horses.  I have now worked Sunni, Gigondas, Cali, and Scout with my new-found skills and they ALL did well (except Cali, who just didn't "get it")...I wanted to go back yesterday and work with them again, but we had to babysit the grandson all day since his daycare was closed and both of his parents had to work.  That's my instructor, Annette, with Riley, my lesson horse.  Isn't he beautiful?  And, well-trained?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday breakfast and another surprise today!

We had breakfast with our daughter and son-in-law down in Indio yesterday morning.  They made bacon, eggs, a fruit compote, and croissants with Nutella and bananas!  Just look!  Today's breakfast is ebelskiver, which are Danish round pancakes.  Here's a link:  We always order them when we stop in Buellton and order them at The Little Mermaid restaurant.  I'll post some photos of them tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

horses today~Scout and Cali

It was a cold, cloudy, windy day today.  After breakfast with our daughter and son-in-law, I drove up to the ranch to work with the two mustangs, Scout and Cali, offering them my newly-acquired horsemanship skills!  :-)  Scout did really well with everything I asked of her, except walking.  She trotted.  I just couldn't get her to slow down!  She flexed, she moved her front and her hindquarters.  She is so SMART!  Cali, on the other hand, is ...well...she's a valley girl! (no offense to "valley girls")...she just wants to look pretty!  She would barely walk (she's super lazy!) ...flexing?  Huh?  What?  Like?  Moving her hindquarters?  Huh?  What?  Duh?  She'd rather sit in my lap!  They both need a LOT of work.  I'm going to have my trainer up there start working Scout every week.  She shows a lot of attitude, but once she started working this afternoon, she paid attention and focused.  Then it got so cold and windy that I quit for the day and gave all the horses an extra helping of beet pulp, oil, and pellets.  It's going to be down to 23 degrees for the next few nights and they will need the extra calories.

Can anybody help these two horses?

Can anybody help these two thoroughbreds who were each purchased by a kill buyer at Mike's Auction last night for $150.00 each?  The first is Smooth in Public, a 6 year old gelding.  Here's the link to his pedigreequery page:  KB bought him for $150 and is willing to sell him for $350.00.  The second one is Red Beach.  Here's his link:  He's out of Grindstone.  And, here's the link to the rescue who is trying desperately to find homes and bail for them before 2:00 p.m. today, Pacific time:!/pages/Southern-California-Thoroughbred-Rescue/155169894561912  If you don't have Facebook, here's the direct link to the res   Time is running out for these two.  Thank you and please share, if you can!  I do believe you could also sponsor or foster these guys once their bail is paid.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My lesson today

I'm sitting here this afternoon blogging and watching "Seabiscuit".  What a great movie.  Between the movie Seabiscuit and Secretariat, I like the movie Seabiscuit better.  I think it had more human interaction and Seabiscuit's story, well, it's just compelling.  My grandfather used to sit me on his lap and tell me stories of Seabsicuit and how he used to take my mom and my aunt to Santa Anita to watch "The Biscuit" run.  I knew he was a come-from-behind horse from those stories.  Grandad LOVED "The Biscuit".  Me?  I watched Secretariat's Belmont from my grandparents' living room back in 1973.  It was the second year of my marriage and my husband was there to see his win. And, in 2005, I saw a young colt, a beautiful chestnut, that I fell in love with making the rounds of Hollywood Park and Del Mar, and Santa Anita, and I went to see him watch every race in Southern California.  His name is Stevie Wonderboy and he's a double sided great-great grandson of Secretariat. When he ran in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, I bet everything I had on him, across the board, and the money that I won from his win started me on my horse journey.  I'm now taking horsemanship lessons and today my trainer asked me to show her what I've been practicing.  Then she hopped on Riley, her lesson horse, bareback, and showed me what she can do with him just using her legs.  Amazing!  Someday I'll be on Riley, but not yet!  That's Ripley and my trainer, Annette.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mountain skies~Skywatch Friday~011312

I love driving up the mountains to go visit my horses each weekend.  Sometimes the sky is clear and blue, but sometimes there are clouds overhead and they present spectacular views, like these.  SkyWatch Friday for January 13, 2012.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gigo's lesson

I don't have an opportunity to be at the horses' lesson every Tuesday, since I am in school at that time.  But, over the winter break (I was off for 3 weeks), I WAS able to stop by the ranch and watch my trainer work  with them on one Tuesday.  I have next Monday off for Martin Luther King's birthday, but she comes on Tuesday.  Maia worked with Gigondas, Sunni, and Quad for this lesson and then this week, she did Scout, Cali, and Quad.  Quad gets a lesson every week because he had to get used to moving to the right.  Plus, she really enjoys working with Quad!  He's very laid back, BUT he can show some attitude!  So, he gets a lesson every week.  I'm really looking forward to my 3 day weekend and I have a lesson with my horsemanship trainer on Saturday morning.  I think I'll take my camera this time and get some photos BEFORE my lesson because I won't have time during the lesson!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How many kids?

So, how many kids showed up for school yesterday?  In my class, it was 30/32....not bad!  One little girl fell asleep in class in the afternoon and another boy stated that he had stayed up until MIDNIGHT the previous night!  What is WRONG with parents?  Midnight?  I fall asleep by 8:00 p.m. every night!  They were all pretty out-of-it yesterday, so I'm hoping they will be more attentive today. Here's Gigondas paying attention to Maia, my trainer, during her lesson last Tuesday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back to school

I head back to school and 32 youngsters today.  Blah...I really got used to my 3 weeks off and some time to clean the house and time for horse lessons!  Hubby borrowed our son's huge outdoor vac and completely cleaned the living room...pulled out chairs, got rid of the cobwebs up in the ceiling corners (we have a 10 foot the desert...with DUST!)  I cleaned the patio glass doors 4x and they are still streaked!  ACK!  I also mopped the kitchen floor (twice), got dishes in the dishwasher, went out and raked the front yard and konked out after lunch!  We got a lot done and when both of us work on the house, it gets clean!  Unfortunately, most of the time hubby sits and goes through emails and reads the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times most of the day!  Grrrrrrrr!!!  It will be interesting to see how many of my students actually show up today.  It used to be that during the 2 week winter break, many would go to Mexico for an additional week.  So, I'm wondering, now with 3 weeks off, how many will take another week?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Much better day today than yesterday!!!

So, I left the house about 8:15 this morning and drove up to the ranch where I board my horses.  I took Sunni out, tied him (he hardly moved!), forgot my tool box up in the tack room, left him tied (he didn't even move), brushed him, cleaned all 4 feet, took him up to the round pen, and did my homework exercises with him.  He wasn't sure about a couple of them, but he TRIED!  Good boy!  He got a reward of going down to the arena and rolling and eating grass for an hour.  Next, Gigondas.  She has always led very well and she was a perfect lady today!  I groomed her, took her up to the arena, did some flexing with her, did her gaits, and practiced "come".  She stayed right with me.  GOOD GIRL!  I left her up there to eat weeds as if she goes down to the arena, she runs and gets all sweaty.  I cleaned out the mustangs' water trough, but didn't work with them or Quad today.  Santa Ana winds are forecast for tomorrow, so I probably won't be able to work any other horses until next weekend, which is a 3 day weekend (we have next Monday off!) the meantime, I've scheduled another lesson on Saturday for me and maybe another one on Monday!  I noticed today that my own confidence level has increased a LOT.  I was always hesitant and unsure of what to do, but now that I KNOW what to do with the horses, I think they feel that confidence, too  Don't you agree?  I'm so glad that I'm taking my horsemanship lessons and I plan to continue them!  :-)  Photos to follow...we're off to Home Depot right now!  Photo of Sunni taken today.  I couldn't balance a horse and my camera, so you'll just have to imagine all the things I did with them today!  But, I'll say, both were very well mannered and they both tried the new things I'm doing with them!   :-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Just horses and a crummy day today

You know, I'm a people observer.  Animals, too, but mostly people  I'm not outgoing and I'm pretty quiet.  So, I love just walking around the horse lesson ranch and observing things...horses, people, the sky, the moon, the stacks of hay.  Anyway, after my lesson yesterday I wandered around with my camera for a while.  Unfortunately, while cleaning the house, I was taking stuff out to the front yard to where our trash cans are and I slammed our metal steel protection door right on my right heel.  MAN, that hurt!  And it bled a lot and I hobbled around not knowing if I'd be able to put shoes on.  I was able to get a pair of boots on that didn't hurt, so off I went to my lesson.  I wasn't able to do much, but I did learn more compulsary things to do with my horses.  Unfortunately, as I was heading out the driveway this morning, to my horror, I saw that somebody smashed my husband's rear window on the XTerra!  There was broken glass everywhere.  I ran into the house to tell him.  It turns out, the only item they took was out picnic bag, which maybe they leaned in and grabbed, thinking it held valuable computers or camera equipment?  Imagine their disappointment to discover it only held plastic plates, knives, 2 stainless steel wine goblets, and 3 wine bottle openers, including the brand new one hubby bought at Dean & DeLuca up in Napa last week.  He's really bummed about that.  The idiot will probably sell whatever he can down at the Indio swap meet and get $20 for all of it...sigh...Not a very good day, I'm afraid, since I had to stay home all day and wait for the glass repair guy to show up at 5:00 p.m.!!!   The lesson ranch is on the road which Desert Adventures uses to take people on a tour of the San Andreas fault and they maintain a Cahuilla Indian village.  Hubby went on one of their tours and really enjoyed it.  That's one of their jeeps going by.  The lady on the Arabian is one of the boarders and she has 3 horses, all rescues.  She's really nice and was telling me that she's had this gelding for 7 months now.  He was very skinny when she got him. The bottom photo is another horse at the ranch who ambled over to see what I was doing.  I've signed up to have a lesson now every Friday afternoon after school.  I REALLY need a lot of lessons!  I also need to build up my own confidence.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Horses at sunset

I took these photos at the rescue where I'm taking my weekly horse "refresher" lessons...Horsemanship 101.  I've learned so much in my three lessons this week and I really enjoy the challenge.  You know, it's been over 40 years since I've had any kind of lessons (since middle school) and I've forgotten a LOT!  So far, I've learned how to properly lead a horse, how to clean its hooves, how to give it a bath, how to get it to flex, how to disengage the front end, how to disengage the rear end...Phew!  That's a lot!  I'll go up to my horses tomorrow and try all this out on Sunni, Cali, and Gigondas...maybe also Quad this weekend.  And Scout, yes, her too!  She NEEDS to learn that she isn't the boss!!!!  I have 3 days of vacation left before I go back to school on Monday and I intend to use my horse time for the last 3 days.  I stayed home today and cleaned the house...I vacuumed, mopped, washed windows, took stuff out to the garage, cleaned off the kitchen table, and cleaned the bathrooms.  Phew!  By noon, I was EXHAUSTED and my muscles just quit on me!  I had my horsemanship lesson at 3:00, so by noon, I ate lunch and rested for 30 minutes. Our son stopped by and helped my vacuum the cobwebs which always seem to appear on our floodlights in the living room (I just can't reach them!)  It was good to have help today and he's off all weekend, so I'm going to ask him to come back and help do some "chores" around the house!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another lesson

I had another lesson at 8:30 a.m. today.  I drove out to the ranch, which is north of Indio, CA.  It sits right along the San Andreas Fault and one can look out and see the palm tree oases along the fault.  I can almost touch them!  So, today Annette, my instructor, said, "What would YOU like to work on today?" and I said, "How to correctly lead a horse!"  This may sound simple to some of you, but I never REALLY learned how to to it correctly and I especially never learned how to correct my horses should they run out in front of me! Scout just runs over me.  Cali and Sunni lead quietly and right with me.  Gigondas is pretty good, too, and so is Quad.  But, Scout for me has always been an issue.  And, believe me, I've had people show me and THEY can do it, but I just can't.  So, I got an hour-long lesson on leading today and I'm plumb wore out!  I took Annette's young mare and led her and walked her over the tarp and over logs.  Of course, she's well trained.  But, I DID learn how to make a horse keep its distance and how to prevent her from walking ahead of me (...I THINK I did...I still need to practice!).  Then Annette and I cleaned up horse poop!  It was a good morning and it was refreshing to get out and do some "horse chores" and be at their ranch.  There are 27 horses there, and most of them are rescues which have now been retrained.  I'll have some "homework" (i.e. some practicing) to do which involves leading each of my horses.  Like I said, all of them, except Scout, are pretty good and she's the one I'll REALLY need to focus on.  Here are some photos I took last night at the ranch here in the desert of some of the horses there. It's so beautiful in the late afternoon with the sun setting behind the San Jacinto mountains and I'll post some of those photos for SkyWatch Friday later this week.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Horse lesson and my lesson

Well, Gigondas, Quad, and Sunni all had their lesson with my trainer today.  I'm really pleased with how much progress Gigo and Sunni have made. Gigo is now quite a lady.  Yes, she's energetic (she LOVES to run!), but she also has manners and waits at gates and waits to be released to run in the arena after her lesson.  She now knows the drill.  And, she LOVES to be groomed!  Sunni now isn't explosive or reactive.  He gave one little flinch today and then settled right down.  I believe he is beyond his explosive, reactive stage and has now moved into a thinking stage...maybe it's partly maturity?  He has a lovely, flowing trot and he wants to please.  He doesn't have a mean bone in his body.  I'm going to work with him Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I had my first "horse" lesson this afternoon, down in the desert.  I found a wonderful trainer for ME down here in the desert, thanks to my cousin Valerie.  This woman teaches classes twice a week to kids and I stayed and took some photos after my lesson.  No, I didn't ride today.  I led a horse around, gave another one a bath, and cleaned his feet. I told her I really needed to go back to Horse Training and Riding 101 and she took me all the way back to leading a horse, which I wasn't doing properly.  Hmmm...maybe that's why Scout rushes past me?  We also did the "Who's going to be lead horse" dance and I noticed that she also did it with the kids.  I learned a lot today and I have another lesson tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.  I also have one Thursday afternoon   I am WORN OUT!!!!! Here are a few pics from today.